Pocl LLVM-less build

You can build a runtime-only pocl to run prebuilt pocl binaries on a device. To do this

  • First, build a pocl with LLVM somewhere.

  • on that machine, set up env vars required for your device (if any), then run bin/poclcc -l. That should print something like:

     Vendor:   AuthenticAMD
       Name:   pthread-AMD A10-7800 Radeon R7, 12 Compute Cores 4C+8G
    Version:   OpenCL 2.0 pocl HSTR: pthread-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu-bdver3

The string after “HSTR:” is the device build hash.

  • now build the LLVM-less pocl. You will need the device build hash from previous step

    ./configure --disable-ocs HOST_DEVICE_BUILD_HASH=<something> ...

    or cmake:

    cmake -DOCS_AVAILABLE=0 -DHOST_DEVICE_BUILD_HASH=<something> ...

    This is required because pocl binaries contain a device hash, and the LLVM-less pocl needs to know which binaries it can load.

Cross-compile pocl LLVM-less build

It’s now possible to cross-compile pocl on x86-64 to run on ARM/MIPS/etc, but only the LLVM-less build. There is a ToolchainExample.cmake file; copy it under different name, then follow the instructions in the file.

Binary inputs format

This section describe how to use clCreateProgramWithBinary with the POCL implementation of OpenCL.

As mentionned in the khronos documentation, the parameter binaries of clCreateProgramWithBinary can consist of either or both of device-specific code and/or implementation-specific intermediate representation.

In POCL, both representations can be use.

Implementation-specific intermediate representation

POCL implementation of clCreateProgramWithBinary enables the user to create a program from a LLVM IR binary. This file needs to be one instance of the kernel, compiled as a OpenCL-C file (-x cl). POCL provides no tool to generate such a file.

Device-specific representation

POCL implementation also enable the user to create a program from a device-specific binary file. The benefit of this method is that the run of your opencl code will not make any call to the compiler.

To generate this file, use the POCL tool poclcc.

./poclcc -o my_kernel.pocl my_kernel.cl

This tools gets the binary from the OpenCL function clGetProgramInfo, and then dump it without any modifications.

poclcc can take several parameters to choose for which device you what to compile your kernel, and to specify some specific build options. If you want to see the complete list, run ./poclcc -h

When poclcc generates a binary file, it has not enough information to generate a code as optimized as it would have been if it has been created from source, build and enqueued in the same OpenCL code.

Here is an example on how to create a program from a file:

int main(void)
  char *binary;
  size_t binary_size;
  FILE *f;

  f = fopen("youfile", "r"); // LLVM IR file or POCLCC binary file

  fseek(f, 0, SEEK_END);
  binary_size = ftell(f);

  binary = malloc(binary_size);
  fread(buffer, 1, binary_size, f);


  cl_platform_id platform_id;
  cl_device_id device_id;
  cl_context context;
  cl_program program;

  clGetPlatformIDs(1, &platform_id, NULL);
  clGetDeviceIDs(platform_id, CL_DEVICE_TYPE_DEFAULT, 1, &device_id, NULL);
  context = clCreateContext(0, 1, &device_id, NULL, NULL, NULL);

  program = clCreateProgramWithBinary(context, 1, &device_id, &binary_size, &binary, NULL, NULL);

  return 0;